"What is kitten season?" you may ask.
Unlike dogs, cats have a seasonal heat cycle, which means a blossoming of kittens that starts in the spring and can last through the fall. This can place great stress on the shelters and humane societies as they try to make room to accommodate these new little ones. The cat population at shelters during this time rises dramatically. The kitten season can also cause adult cats to be overlooked in the selection process because the kittens capture your attention.
What can You do to help out in the Kitten Season?
Volunteer your time, money, or supplies to the local shelters to ease their financial burden. Be a good cat owner and have your own cat spayed/neutered to help prevent the population boom. One of the most rewarding things you can do is go to the shelter and adopt a cat of your very own or a playmate for pets you may already have.
What should You look for when picking out a Feline Friend?
First go to a shelter and meet the cats. Volunteer so you can get to know them over a period of time. Spend time with the cats that catch your attention to see if they truly are compatible with you. If you are looking for a cat that likes to snuggle make sure you find a cat that likes that kind of attention. Take your time to find the right match.
Adding a new member to your family can be a big responsibility so make sure that you will have the time and energy to dedicate to your new cat. Remeber that this is a long term decision as cats can have been know to live well into their teens and even twenties. When picking a cat realize that kittens may require more time and energy as they may need some training and socialization, where an older cat may be more relaxed and less mischievous. Make sure that you pick an age that will fit best with your family.
When looking at the cats in the shelter you will find some have long, thick, fluffy coats and others have short, fine coats. Both coats will need regular grooming, however you must consider how much time each coat may take. To keep a long-haired coat healthy they may need more brushing to keep their fur mat free. Short-haired cats will need regular grooming as well, but with less fur it may be more managable for your family.
If you are bringing this new cat into a home where you already have pets, keep your other pets in mind. When introducing your new cat to your other furry friends, remember this will take some time. The new cat should be quarantined for up to 60 days so diseases it may carry are not transfered to your pets. Consult your veterinarian about this process so everyone stays healthy. After it is feeling comfortable and has been properly quarantined, you may introduce it slowly other pets under direct supervision.
Owning a cat can be very rewarding, but is also a big responsibility. Cat require veterinary visits at least every 6-12 months, as well as vaccinations, wellness screenings, parasite prevention, and microchipping. It is also important to the health of your cats to have them spayed or neutered around 6 months of age. Enjoy the time with your new friend and contact your veterinarian with any questions or concerns.